Monday, November 24, 2014

Le Chat

1971, France, directed by Pierre Granier-Deferre

A brutal film that has virtually no violence -- though animal lovers should beware -- as Gabin and Signoret embody the daily realities of a marriage that has long-since collapsed into a horrible kind of co-dependent enmity. At one point, Gabin flicks a folded-up piece of paper at Signoret in lieu of more civilized communication, but it feels as though he has delivered a slap. Both actors are in fine form, navigating a horrible kind of waltz around each other, both within the home that seems increasingly small and on the streets of the compact neighborhood where they can't help but cross paths. The neighborhood, on the western fringes of Paris, functions as an effective metaphor for the collapsing relationship: the film was made right at the time when entire quartiers were being razed to make room for the edifices of La Défense, and the background construction creates a maddening modernist soundtrack.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States